A certain amount of iron and steel is made jn Italy, the whole country in 1899 haying in operation 21 open-hearth furnaces, two Bessemer and two Robert converters:' Most of the steel was made from imported pig-iron and scrap. The Terni works is the largest plant, and in 1899 it imported 90,000 tons of material, converting this into supplies for the railways and the navy. The amount of pig-iron imported is from six to eight times as much as is melted within its borders. It is necessary to mention, the mines of Elba, which have been famous for centuries and which have supplied America with large quantities of low-phosphorus ores. These deposits are controlled by the Italian Government, which has leased them for short periods to contractors, but now has followed the wiser plan of giving a long lease. The terms of the contract, made in 1898, are intended to encourage the manufacture of iron and steel at home. The Government is to receive a royalty of ten cents per ton on all ore smelted in Italy, but it must receive $1.50 on all ore shipped to other countries. The company securing this lease is made up of home capital in the Island of Elba, and it is developing coal mines across the ocean in Venezuela for a supply of fuel. The lease runs twenty years, and not over 160,000 tons per year may be exported, while at least 40,000 tons must be offered to Italian furnaces.
An important point in the general problem is that in the past the ore lias been taken away from Elba as return cargo in vessels carrying coal to Italy, and if such exports cease the cost of coal and coke will be higher. A still more important matter is the approaching exhaustion of the deposit. The Government has carefully surveyed the remaining supply and has limited the output so that it will last twenty or thirty years at the rate of about 350,000 tons per year. Needless to say the working of the lessening and